Capo Cipressa Jacket

Now, it might not seem the most appropriate time of year to bring to you ladies attention a super bit of kit i had on test this early springtime. Forgive me for that, in part I have not gotten round to penning my thought on the item for a good month or two due to being busy and well, just out riding, and secondly, admittedly I only wore the garment from March-late April, so its not been at the front of my mind, however I have finally found time to share my thoughts on a top-tech jacket that most wardrobes will have space to accommodate.

Admittedly Capo is a brand I didn’t have a massive amount of awareness of until last year or so. Known widely state-side and down under, their kit is minimally and stylishly designed, you wont find cluttered logos or hideous colour-schemes in their line-up, just a well executed understated style. Capo produce a host of club and team kits in the states, and unbeknownst to me I was actually already in possession of a very comfy pair of armwarmers from their via the excellent Elcyclista.

The jacket is an incredibly svelte number, crafted in a fabric Capo has termed ‘Shark’. Consisting of a thin but closely yarned fleece lining, backed by the exterior layer of a matted wetsuit-like windproofed lycra, the jacket is definitely on the ‘race-fit’ side of the fence, offering a really flattering profile when zipped up. Bonus points already! Think of it as the women-friendly equivalent of Rapha’s Pro-team jacket; a race-cut insulating outer layer designed simultaneously to afford a breathable and windproof front panel.

Reflective piping flocks the rear panel joints, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a high-vis piece, its stealthy and ninja-like with its completely black colour. Stylish attire indeed for the day, but this wont be ideal for commuting on darkened streets come evening time. Team with a high-vis gilet or such should this be the case would be my advice.

Two large pockets provide ample storage for ride food and phones/camera etc. No internal pump pocket or such, but they do keep their shape under load extremely well, and don’t sag in that unsightly way that other jerseys can be prone to. 
The jersey is an ideal 3 season outer layer, teamed with either 3/4 or tights and a thick baselayer in the winter. Retailing at around £150 (although I have seen these floating about in online sales recently) the jacket is a minimally-stylish staple thats manufacturing quality means it should last quite a few seasons. I teamed it happily with the rapha 3/4 bibs during an extensive test throughout late March/early April and it performed admirably giving ample protection from wind and drizzle. Id say look to employ the jacket ideally at temperatures below 12 degrees or so.
Capo will also be involved the the really cool Rêve grand tour project, which sees a group of 6 US based ladies take part in a punishing 3479KM ride shadowing the 2012 Tour de France route. Hopefully the weather will stay nice enough for the gang they wont be needing the Cipressa jacket 😉
Capo is available in the following places 

Bespokery

This past weekend I visited the very lovely ‘Bespoked’ handmade bicycle show in Bristol. Making a day of it I set out with a very good chum for a wonderfully sunny daytrip, taking an early morning train out from London. The exhibition showcased some great UK framebuilders complimented by different stands encompassing the many different spheres of the current cycling scene. 
There’s no denying that cycling has become more popular than ever, with many different builders popping up over the last couple of years. One only has to browse the internet for proof of such a burgeoning scene, and on a daily basis im consistently amazed at some of the beautiful and lust-worthy bikes and kit popping up all over the place. Bespoked, making its maiden voyage into the world of bike lust with a roaring success of a show last year, returned bigger and better, with a whole host of exhibitors showcasing some delish bikes & fodder.

First to greet visitors at the top of the entrance staircase was a collection of extremely anticipated builds. This year marks the efforts of Rapha to globalize their unique ‘Continental’ programme, and at Bespoked were 4 of the frames to be used in the UK continental rides. Ricky Feathers bike, that Max Leonard will throw his legs over for the uk rides also won the ‘Best Road Bike’ category for the show, and its really not hard to see why! Lush detailing, and as you’d expect from the Perrn St mob, that timeless black with a dash of pink componentry.

The three other frames garnered much attention, with Donhou building a disc braked steel beauty, complete with wound up forks, Brian Rourke crafting a beautifully proportioned frame for the towering rider Graham, (and curiously unlike most large frame sized it actually looks fabulous) and the Robin Mather displayed, with its funky decal. 

The UK continental project will see six talented riders undertake a series of quintessential rides across the British isles, documenting the landscape and weather fluctuations of our country in the typically rapha-esque aesthetic. Watch their website for more information as the rides are undertaken.

James points out that only one bike used any pink on the framework, in a small and eloquent tribute to a sufferer of breast cancer. Unfortunately I blurred the detailing of this meaningful gesture.

The Brian Rourke stand contained a lot of lovely frames, and their race ready beast built up was one mean machine! My friend James is collecting his custom rourke this weekend, and having kept us in the dark for 6 months about the colour scheme, we couldn’t help but wonder if his frame was sat perched upon the wall, staring back at us.

The show had loads of race bikes built using steel, it seems the material has truly made a resurgence, and some of the builds were light indeed.

It was also great to meet Richard, the man behind the Urban Hunter webstore. Iv always been a fan of their, as they seem to stock some really cute trinkets and lines that are exclusive to them (I think they are the only people to be punting those super euro Salice glasses). 

They had some nice things on display at their stand, with some nice racey Italian bits to some serious courier bags for the fixie dudes.

Rowland and I had our hearts stolen by a custom brand called Legend, creating by the man who was the brains behind the Viner bikes. I lusted after a scarlet matted carbon peach, whereas Si fell for a cheeky Ti number…

Rapha Shoes

There’s no denying that those folks at Perren St have been busy this past season, turning out some really nice new products to compliment their three clothing collections, the training & racing range, city range and ladies collection. Their latest offering, set to be a huge hit this summer, is their exquisitely titled ‘Grand Tour Shoe’.

I love the clean monochrome look, similar to the fizik R3 shoes. The perforated upper looks like it will compliment the grand tour gloves really well, im sure an intentional move on Rapha’s part. Im a sucker for anything sparkly and white when it comes to cycling gear, so I have to say for me the white ones win over the black ones, although I reckon the black ones will look suitably ‘epic’ when someone like Kristian House is wearing them drilling up the front of a Premier Calendar race in the rain 😉

The shoes of course feature all those natty little details that we have come to expect from the brand, including insoles emblazoned with Anquetil & Coppi, individual dust bags, reflective heel logo, and a comprehensive arch support system (the Giro SuperNatural system) to tailor the fit to each foot.

A collaboration between Giro & Rapha, the shoes will feature an easton carbon sole, and an exclusive Yak upper made by footwear textile aficionados ecco. Its clear a lot of thought has gone into the execution of these clogs, with rapha pulling in experts within the footwear arena to perfectly execute such a wager into a new area of the market for them. First impressions certainly do look grand for this shoe, I for one cant wait to check them out in the flesh soon.
The shoes are set to hit general release on April 10th, with a comprehensive set of sizes to be offered, from 39-48, including half sizes to enable the best fit. The shoes will drop at £300, no small investment for sure, but I suspect the life-cycle (no pun intended) of these moccs will be plentiful, therefore going some way to soften the blow on the wallet of a buyer. The outlay will also secure some of the top end technology available in cycle footwear today, short of a full custom shoe such as the D2 offerings.
Below are the gorgeous custom decoupage rapha shoes created by artist James Straffon, they are simply stunning! for more info on James’ cycle inspired art, check out his website